The Information Commissioner’s Office strategy declaration
Sometimes you just have to laugh for fear of crying. The Information commissioners Office (ICO) strategy for 2012 makes me do just that. It is a 17 page purple prose self-aggrandizing Declaration of Independence, declaring itself to be independent of political, public and media pressure. It should just simply say that ‘we will uphold the law in our role defined by the law.’
But it doesn’t do that. It seems more concerned to distance itself from the letter of the law by defining its own interpretation of the law, and to align itself with that interpretation. It has, in short, evolved an overblown idea of its function, which it attempts to define in this rather long and mis-titled public-relations document. I give just a few examples:
we will neither be exclusively an educator nor exclusively an enforcer. We are both, even though we prefer to deliver our desired outcomes through help and encouragement rather than force. This means we are primarily a facilitator…
In the time-honoured liberal tradition it has failed to understand that facilitation is delivered by enforcement, not enforcement delivered by facilitation.
We cannot address all risks to the upholding of information rights equally nor should we attempt to do so.
Yes it most certainly should attempt to address all risks to the upholding of information rights equally.
we will treat all cases that come to us fairly and properly but not necessarily pursue them with equal vigour.
This is perhaps one of the most worrying comments. The ICO is declaring that it will decide, arbitrarily, whether your complaint is worth its attention. Not the law, not the judiciary, not parliament, not you, but its own self will pre-judge a case and decide whether or not to pursue it with vigour.
we will devote particular effort to investigating, analysing and ultimately enforcing in those cases that we see as contributing most to the delivery of our desired outcomes and not just those presenting the biggest risk…
Not just those presenting the biggest risk. It really does say that it, the body responsible for enforcing the Data Protection Act, is not necessarily going to spend its effort on the biggest risk.
Laugh or cry? You decide.